Video published October 18, 2017
Thank you to videographer Derrick Periera and Editor John Meyers
It has become clear that in order for young players to flourish in soccer it requires an unrealistic amount of money, time and resources. The players who are privileged enough to play at the elite level receive high quality coaching, state of the art equipment and training facilities. This gives those players an advantage. For families who can’t afford the high cost their youth are left with the option of playing at the recreational level or not playing at all. The recreational level often has untrained parents as coaches, low quality training, equipment and facilities. PCFC was created out of a growing need for a soccer club that would provide a high quality playing experience for youth in Portland without the high expense. In the Fall of 2012 Kaig Lightner, Founder and Director of Coaching, began to develop the concept of PCFC in coordination with some passionate and frustrated soccer parents.
Our Commitment To Diversity
As the pieces began to fall into place it became clear that not only did PCFC need to be accessible to athletes and families from low-income communities but there was also an opportunity to make sure that athletes, coaches and families from the LGBTQ community had a place to feel welcomed and accepted. The motivation for this particular outreach came specifically from Kaig identifying as a queer, transgender man and a member of the LGBTQ community. He strongly believes that no youth, parent or coach should ever feel excluded or discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. While LGBTQ acceptance is becoming more common in the population at large it is still not an idea that is widely accepted in the sports community, particularly within youth athletics. PCFC is dedicated to providing a safe and inclusive environment while also giving athletes the opportunity to build their skills, make new friends and love the beautiful game of football.
PCFC's mission is to offer high quality, affordable club soccer low-income, immigrant, and refugee youth from 3-18 years old in the Portland Metro area. Many soccer clubs claim to be inclusive of diverse communities but they simultaneously exclude many players and their families because of the financial barrier to play. We keep our season fees affordable, provide free uniforms to all players and provide cleats/shin guards when requested. But there are other barriers beyond money that are often less obvious.
Language and cultural barriers. We work hard to make sure that all our forms are translated into Spanish as this tends to be the second most common language spoken amongst families who access our programs. We also strive to recruit coaches who can assist with translation during in person conversations. It is also important to our mission that our staff reflect the communities that we serve. In addition to these steps PCFC also seeks out partnerships with other culturally specific organizations.
Transportation and socio-econmic barriers. These also prevent many youth from participating in high quality soccer clubs. As a result PCFC is dedicated to eliminating these barriers by assisting parents in finding transportation solutions such as carpool or our coaches and staff provide rides when needed. Unfortunately, parents who work multiple jobs or work odd hour jobs aren't always able to drive their kids to and from practices and games. That's why PCFC assists with not only getting kids to and from these events, but also understands when a player might have to miss a practice or game due to these barriers. We also aim to eliminate the technology barrier that often prevents families in low-income communities from having equal access to clubs. We do not require parents to have an email address or to only exclusively use email for communication. Our staff and coaches make phone calls regularly to check in with families about their youth's participation in each season. PCFC believes that connecting with people through any means is the most important even if it takes more time and effort.